BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — In the wake of anti-gay remarks made by San Francisco 49ers' Chris Culliver on a radio show, the Super Bowl-bound team now finds itself in the midst of more controversy as two players who took part in an It Gets Better video told USA Today Sports that they didn't participate in the video and that they weren't aware that its aim was to combat bullying of queer youth.
After being shown the video, one of the players, Ahmad Brooks, is quoted as saying, "Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay (rights) video."
A second player, Isaac Sopoaga, was also shown the video but indicated he didn't know what it was for, USA Today Sports says. When told it was a campaign against anti-gay bullying, Sopoaga said "okay" but declined to comment further.
Dan Savage, who co-founded the It Gets Better project, said via Twitter that the 49ers video has been removed from the campaign's website.
The 49ers were hailed for being the first NFL team to shoot an It Gets Better video. The team joined the anti-bullying movement after 16,000 fans signed a change.org petition urging it to make the video, according to a San Francisco Chronicle blog. Long-time 49ers fan Sean Chapin started the petition. "With their 'It Gets Better' video, the 49ers are shining a golden beacon of hope to LGBT youth, and as a gay man, I enthusiastically applaud their courage and leadership.”
Just recently, Brooks' and Sopoaga's teammate cornerback Chris Culliver appeared on a radio show in which he objected to the idea of having gay players on the team and in the locker room.
In the interview with host Artie Lange, Culliver said, "I don't do the gay guys, man. I don't do that. No, we don't got no gay people on the team; they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah . . . can't be . . . in the locker room, man. Nah."
Culliver subsequently apologized for his comments, which went viral. "I was really not thinking. Or, something I thought, but not something that I feel in my heart," Culliver said. "I'm sorry that I offended anyone. They were very ugly comments, and that's not what I feel in my heart. Hopefully, I can learn and grow from this experience and this situation. I love San Francisco."
Head coach Jim Harbaugh, who spoke with Culliver, says the player now realizes his words were "hurtful and ugly."
"I think, I know, that he's taken that to heart. I really believe that this is something he'll learn and grow from."